Once

Today I’m writing with the Five Minute Friday community, on a Tuesday. What can I say, life has a way of getting in the way sometimes. Today we are writing on the word prompt “Once”.

Once upon a time there was a woman who started a blog. For over 12 years she wrote and encouraged other women in their walk with the Lord. She wrote 3-4 times a week, hosted link parties and spent hours each week reading comments and visiting other blogs. She even self-published a book which was a huge accomplishment.

Over the last few years though, this women grew weary of writing. She hit some spiritual bumps in the road and had to step way back in order to gain some perspective about her life’s purpose and healing for her broken heart. She missed sharing her life with others, and tried to say connected with those she had grown to know and love for so many years.

A couple of months ago this woman decided it was time to begin sharing her heart again. Even though her blogs may look different (not so spiritually focused, although God is always in the center), she decided to take a leap and begin a brand new blog.

Once she made this decision, the woman deleted her old blog. Yep, she did that thing they say never to do! She decided that she wanted to start with a clean slate. Even though she didn’t know who was still “following her”, she hoped whatever she shared would be a blessing a bring a smile to someone’s face.

If you are visiting here, I am so thankful for you and I am looking forward to getting to know you more. If you’ve been around the blog world with me in the past thank you for hanging in there with me.

argument

I have had my fair share of arguments in my life time. I often come face to face with someone who does not see things as I do and instead of agreeing to disagree and walking away in love, I end up saying things I wish you could take back later.

Hasn’t this world, especially over this last year, experienced it’s fair share of arguments? Hatred is spewed all over social media and sides are taken. You better have all your best responses lined up if you decide to share your opinion about all sorts of things.

I’ve seen Christians attacking other Christians — this one claiming to be right; the other not backing down and refusing to hear the other side. Is this what Christ would want? To see His people arguing and spewing hatred of one another, all for a difference of opinion? I think not.

Why can’t we love one another — really love one another. We are not going to agree, even among the Christian community. But can we give grace and lend our ear to hear another’s story? Can we agree do disagree and still show love and respect for one another?

Arguing will get us nowhere. Matter of fact, it’s done a lot of damage on so many levels. It’s time to truly be Christlike and walk in love, knowing we will have disagreements, but believing that God will work it all out for His good.

The next time you are faced with a difference of opinion, instead of allowing yourself to get into a heated argument, let the other person know you hear them, that their opinion is valid and that you respect their point of view. We do not have to agree, but we are called to show love no matter what.

Predicament

I’ve found myself in a predicament as I am a day behind in my posting.

On Monday while at work I noticed a rash on my forearms, which had spread to my legs, stomach, face and hands by the time I got home. My mind was racing, “What could this be?” I went to bed but as soon as I got up to go to work on Tuesday, I immediately sought out Google for the source of this predicament.

While on Google, I came across an article where some people presented with a rash and had tested positive for COVID. No! It couldn’t be. I didn’t want COVID, and I couldn’t be out of the office just as tax season was beginning.

I immediately contacted my doctor to share my predicament. While she was encouraging, she was cautious as she asked me to drive to the Kaiser COVID testing lot and get a test.

That was quite an ordeal. I don’t know if you’ve had a COVID test, but it hurt! I mean, my eyes were tearing up by the time I left and my nose was sore. But I got the test, prayed that all would be well and went home.

I was fortunate to have been able to remote in to my work computer and handle some things for the office over the last day and a half.

My COVID test returned negative, of which I am truly thankful. I still find myself in an itchy predicament with this rash, but at least I know it’s nothing serious.

What predicament have you found yourself in lately?

Energize

As a woman in her mid-fifties, it takes a lot of discipline for me to feel energized. I don’t have the best sleeping habits, meaning I stay up way too late and get up too early. Even though I try my best to eat healthy, I’ve hit a slump. Last year at this time I had lost nearly 30lbs in just a few short months. But then COVID hit and well, I’ve been carrying the weight of the world on my shoulder, not to mention worrying about my husband’s loss of work. It’s straining for sure.

When I lost the 30lbs I had so much more energy. I could run up the stairs in my house without feeling out of breath. I could get on the floor and up again without help. I just felt healthier and that led to feeling energized.

I haven’t quite gotten my mindset back that I can do this weightless thing again. I’m trying but I’m not succeeding (which really means I’m not trying as hard as I can be). But I know that I have to. I’m too heavy and this is putting undue stress on my body, not to mention my state of mind.

I’m hoping to begin putting things into place again — meal prepping, tracking every bite, staying away from added sugars, making healthier choices and exercising. I don’t want a quick fix and it has to be manageable. It worked once so I know it will work again.

If I follow the plan, I will be on my way to feeling energized once again.

Exasperated

It takes a lot to get me feeling exasperated – intensely irritated or frustrated, or so I thought. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that I tend to keep feelings of exasperation held up inside, and this creates all sorts of physical issues for me — headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, let alone feelings of overwhelm and anxiousness.

Some of the things that can leave me feeling exasperated are:

  • Making mistakes at work.
  • A messy house that no one seems to care about but me.
  • Feeling as if my husband is not paying attention to me.

Exasperation is a feeling, and not a reality. When that feeling creeps up, I have to look deep within myself and ask what is the root of this feeling. Most often, there is an underlying reason that is causing the irritability and frustration.

Do I need to slow down at work?

Do I need to stop trying to control the people in my life?

Do I need to forgive my husband?

Whenever I feel exasperated, I have to take a deep breath and remember that God is with me. There is nothing that He cannot handle, especially those things that feel out of my own control. When I invite Him in, he helps me to stop, relax and breathe. When I meet Him in prayer, he removes my exasperation and replaces it with peace so that I am able to resume living in a state of rest.

God comes to bring peace in the midst of my frustration. I simply have to ask.

Emphasis

I often put too much emphasis on the externals. What is happening around me. What I look like. How heavy I am. The things I’ve done wrong in my life and how I can never redeem that time.

I struggle with depression from time to time. Thankfully, it’s not bad enough to have to take medication any more, but I get the blues too often. When I find myself in that place, the dark and negative thoughts take captive in my mind and the emphasis is placed on what’s not going right, what I don’t have, what I don’t feel like doing.

I want to live life full, overflowing to the brim, the way God intended. In order to stay in that place, what I focus on or what I place emphasis on has to change. Even on those days when I am not feeling my best emotionally I can make a decision to find something positive to dwell on — I am healthy, my children love and serve the Lord, I have a job that I love, we have everything we need.

Even on those days when I am not feeling my best emotionally I can make a decision to find something positive to dwell on

Today I am making a decision to focus on the good in my life. Perhaps I will begin counting the gifts God has given to me again here in this space. It was always a great way to put emphasis on all that I have to be thankful for.

Awe

Enjoying life has been a goal of mine. I don’t want to walk through life with a sour look on my face. I want to approach each new day for the gift that it is and truly live life to the fullest.

When we embrace the awe and wonder of each new day, we proclaim our faith and trust in God.

It’s hard for me sometimes to get out of my box of “work, clean, kids, repeat”. I sometimes get stuck in a rut, in my day-to-day routine and forget to find the joy that is truly available to me in every day living. To be honest, I sometimes think other people lead so much more glamorous lives than my own. I see their lives unfold on social media and I often fall into the “comparison” trap. But I know that no one’s life is perfect. And though there may appear to be laughter, love and beauty on the surface, that doesn’t mean there isn’t pain underneath. And perhaps their lives are really as perfect as they portray. Who am I to judge?

The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. He would like nothing better than to rob us of the joy that is ours in Christ. For me, it starts with boredom, feeling stuck, comparison, complacency. Soon it leads to feelings of hopelessness and questioning, “Is this all there really is to life?”

I am reminded that I have a good life, and it is a life worthy of enjoying. It may be routine and there may not be much happening in the day-to-day, but it’s all about how I choose to embrace every moment that is given to me.

Life is beautiful. Enjoy the ride!

Sunrise

Today the #write28days community is linking up with the #fiveminutefriday community. We are given a word prompt and write for just five minutes. No perfection here, just words flowing freely from my heart to yours.

I love getting up in the morning with the sunrise. It’s like a smile from God to remind me that I’ve been blessed with another day.

About a week ago we had stormy weather here in California, more than normal. The winds were howling and it was just dark and dreary for about a week. For someone who suffers from mild depression which is exasperated when there is no sunlight, I wasn’t handling life too well that week. Work was hard to get through as I could feel a weight settling in upon me.

But the sun eventually came out and on that morning as God smiled his warmth upon me with the sunrise breaking through the darkness, I was reminded that even when we are going through struggles and the days seem dark and dreary, there is a sunrise just around the corner. It may not always look like a physical sunrise. It could be the smile on your child’s face as he tells you he loves you. It could be the call that comes for the husband who has been waiting for work. It could be the message from the doctor that says the report is clear. It could be the hope that you are clinging too now despite your challenges.

Today may you be blessed with the warmth of the sun upon your face and reminded that no matter what you are going through, God’s grace is shining upon you.

Learn

I am a firm believer that everyone should be in a continually state of learning. With that said, I haven’t really gained any new skills over the last year, except learning to use my Instant Pot. Matter of fact, my daughter just came over yesterday and I gave her an Instant Pot lesson as we made Chili Mac. It was fun and it turned out pretty good. Could have used more seasoning and we added way too much pasta! I don’t know why I thought we had to double this recipe. We made enough for an army.

I have learned that when you cook in the instant pot you really need to add more seasoning than the recipe calls for. When the food is pressurized, I do believe all of that yummy seasoning gets steamed out.

Do you own an instant pot? I of course, being obsessed with all things Pioneer Woman, own this 6qt beauty:

One thing I want to do here in this space is share recipes, Instant Pot ones included. Look for more yummy recipes to come!

What are some of your favorite Instant Pot recipes? Or share a Crock Pot recipe if you don’t have an Instant Pot.